Becoming Internal Security Threats
SAHITYA AKADEMI AWARD
Arundhati Roy rejects honour
New Delhi, uni:
Sunday January 15, 2006
Celebrated writer Arundhati Roy on Saturday refused to accept the
prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in protest against the Indian
Government toeing the US line by “violently and ruthlessly pursuing
policies of brutalisation of industrial workers, increasing
militarisation and economic neo-liberalisation”.
The jury of Sahitya Akademi last week chose her book, The Algebra
of Infinite Justice, a collection of political essays, for the 2005
“I have a great deal of respect for the Sahitya Akademi, for the
members of this year's Jury and for many of the writers who have
received these awards in the past. But to register my protest and
reaffirm my disagreement — indeed my absolute disgust — with these
policies of the Indian Government, I must refuse to accept the 2005
Sahtiya Akademi Award”, Arundhati said in a statement here.
“These essays written between 1998 and 2001 are deeply critical of
some of the major policies of the Indian State”, she said. The main
area of her disgreement included the government policies of
constructing big dams, persuing nuclear weapons, increasing
militarisation and economic liberalisation.
Even today this government “shows a continuing commitment to these
polices and is clearly prepared to implement them ruthlessly and
violently,” whatever the cost, she said.
Further she noted that in the last few months, apart from the
growing number of farmers' suicide and the forcible eviction of
people from their lands, the country had witnessed the police
brutalisation of industrial workers in Gurgaon, killing 12
protesting against a dam in
Manipur and the killing of another dozen people protesting their
displacement by a steel plant in Orissa.
“Even as we call ourselves a democracy, Indian security forces
control and administer Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland and the
numbers of the dead and disappeared continue to mount”, she said.
The Algebra of Infinite Justice is also critical of US foreign
policy, particularly in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001,
attacks in New York and Washington.
“This present government, too, has seen it fit to declare itself an
ally of the US, thereby condoning the American invasion of
Afghanistan and the illegal occupation of Iraq, which, under the
Nuremberg principles, constitutes the supreme crime of a war of